Disowning one's seen real body during an out-of-body illusion

Conscious Cogn. 2012 Jun;21(2):1037-42. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2012.01.018. Epub 2012 Feb 28.


Under normal circumstances, we experience that our center of awareness is located behind our eyes and inside our own body. To learn more about the perceptual processes that underlie this tight coupling between the spatial dimensions of our consciously perceived self and our physical body, we conducted a series of experiments using an 'out-of-body illusion'. In this illusion, the conscious sense of self is displaced in the testing room by experimental manipulation of the congruency of visual and tactile information and a change in the visual perspective. We demonstrate that when healthy individuals experience that they are located in a different place from their real body, they disown this body and no longer perceive it as part of themselves. Our findings are important because they reveal a relationship between the representation of self-location in the local environment and the multisensory representation of one's own body.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Image*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illusions / psychology*
  • Male
  • Proprioception
  • Touch
  • Visual Perception